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Best of Finland Russia and the Baltic States 2014

  • Duration: 15 Days
  • Rating: Read Reviews
  • Brochure: Europe & Britain 2014
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  • Style: Regional
  • Description: On top of the must-see Russian cities and dramatic scenery, this trip reveals a rarer side of Europe, in its more unusual and unvisited countries of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus. It's Insider moments like… hearing Antoly singing rousing Russian and Belarusian songs, as he plays his accordion and you drink his homemade vodka. Eating with him in the front room of his house, looking out at his lake, his tales of his life in Minsk are dished up with his daughter's roast pork or chicken, 'Shchi' cabbage soup and 'Draniki' potato cakes – washed down with local beer and champagne. As Antoly and his wife show you around their farm, you can almost picture partisans fighting in the nearby forests in the last war.
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Optionals

On every itinerary, we offer a range of optional excursions that allow you to further enhance your experience should you so choose. These are purchased when you are on your trip, via your Trafalgar Travel Director. Depending on the region visited these can be paid with cash or credit card.


A reduction of 25% of the cost of the Optional Excursions is offered to all children under the age of 16 years at the time of travel. Please Note: This discount to does not apply to North America optionals, as they are already discounted.

  • ST PETERSBURG

    • + Russian Folklore Evening A chance to attend one of the best Russian Folklore programs in St. Petersburg. The show includes Cossack dances, songs, instruments and costumes from around Russia, during the intermission Russian champagne and vodka are sampled, an unforgettable experience.

    • + Cruise The Waterways Of The Venice Of The North Soak up the atmosphere, romance and lights of this unique and beautiful city known as the Venice of the North. A cruise through the canals and along River Neva transforms the city into a magical place that has inspired generations of artists - a photographers dream. Sip champagne as the city drifts by! A wonderful introduction to the former imperial capital.

    • + Imperial Splendours And Architectural Gems Our guided tour visits the most famous architectural monument in St Petersburg, the St Isaacs Cathedral, the city's largest and finest church, unequalled in the empire. We then go on to see the amazing colourful centrepiece of the city, known as the Church of the Saviour 'on the spilled blood', built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated. The multi-coloured onion domes and mosaics, recently restored, are based on St Basil's in Moscow and evoke a feeling of Old Russia.

    • + Evening At The Theatre There may be an opportunity to attend a ballet performance in the historic atmosphere of a Tsarist era theatre. Subject to availability of tickets and performance. The price will vary, depending on the venue and the Ballet Company.

    • + Imperial Summer Residences Pushkin And Petrodvorets While in St Petersburg a trip to Tsarskoe Selo, Pushkin, is a must for every visitor. The Romanovs spared no expense on their opulent summer retreats. Now gems of Russian art, the palaces combine outstanding architecture and splendid parks. Miraculously restored from the ravages of Nazi occupation and destruction, work like the fairy-tale Amber Room can once again be seen. In the afternoon we continue on to the most famous town Petrodvorets, which was its Russian recreation of Versailles. It is famed for its many palaces, extravagant gardens and terraces of gilded statues and fountain cascades on the Gulf of Finland. Relax and enjoy the elegant atmosphere of these baroque gardens on our visit.

    • + Rasputin And The Romanovs St Petersburg is known as the Cradle of the Revolution and the downfall of the Romanov Dynasty. This unforgettable haunting visit takes us through the opulent splendour of the home of pre-Revolutionary Russias foremost noble family, the Yusupovs. Here in the cellar, 3 months before the fateful February revolution, Felix Yusupov and members of the Tsars court conspired and murdered the infamous Rasputin. Our tour is concluded with a visit to the Peter and Paul Cathedral, today recognised as the Pantheon of the tsars, including the canonised Nicholas and the relics of his wife and children. The end of a dynasty.

  • MOSCOW

    • + Evening Dinner Cruise Enjoy the best views of the sights of Russia's glistening capital from our cruise ship along the Moskva River. Dinner is served on board with drinks included.

    • + Treasures Of The Kremlin A unique opportunity to visit the Treasure Chamber of the Russian Tsars during our reserved visit. See the works of Faberge, the diamonds of Catherine the Great and her golden gowns. Marvel at the Imperial carriages studded with precious stones and gold, jewelled thrones and hundreds of spectacular priceless items from the Romanov Dynasty.

    • + Russian Panorama Discover a true insight into Russian life, history and people. Among the various experiences we will offer you will be a visit to Borodino Panorama, an incredible work of art. The giant, circular canvas depicts a moment of the battle - 12.30 p.m. 7th of September - when the most vivid and decisive events took place. Standing in the middle of this panorama you experience up close the heroic (and bloody) battle during the 1812 war between Russia and Napoleons Grand Army in the days before CNN. The museum's exhibition is equipped with modern technical apparatus. The viewing of the panorama is accompanied by special sound-effects, reproducing the battle shooting of the beginning of the 19th century. We follow with a walk through Novodevichy Park to see memorials to well known people and leaders such as Yeltsin, Krushchov, Checkhov, Eisenstein, and Raisa Gorbachova. A fascinating place with memorials ranging from the most modest to sentimental and outlandish.

    • + Metro And Red Square By Night Take a surprise journey. Ride the legendary Moscow metro through part of Stalin's showcase, the underground 'palaces' of Moscow Metro. The Communist government wanted to create a transport system unequalled in any capitalist state, bringing culture to the masses in their everyday lives. Not just another transport system, more than trains and tunnels (Western art critics include it among the Ten Places That You Want to See before You Die), Moscow Metro is the most grandiose architectural monument of the Soviet era. Tonight we select some of the most remarkable stations to show you, decorated with stained glass, mosaics, chandeliers and statues. The tour ends in Red Square to take in its fairytale evening atmosphere.

    • + Zagorsk - The Real Russia Our excursion takes us through the Russian countryside to Zagorsk giving you an impression of places unchanged for centuries. Zagorsk, (Sergeyev Posad) is the Russian Vatican, centre of the Orthodox faith, religious art and architecture. For centuries it served as the religious capital of Russia and pilgrimage place for the faithful of the Russian Orthodox creed. Within the old walled city we see the Troitse-Sergiieyeva Lavra, a working monastery where the Orthodox faith was tolerated by the Communist state and kept alive during the years of atheism. A chance to browse at some locally made Russian handicrafts, wooden toys and Matryoshka dolls on sale at the local market.

    • + Circus Visit A chance to enjoy the Russian State Circus. Tickets subject to availability. Full transportation will be provided.

  • MINSK

    • + Saint Elizabeth Convent A rare opportunity to visit a working convent, where the sisters provide spiritual and social help to the sick and suffering. See the workshops where stained glass, mosaics and icons are created, and have an opportunity to shop for souvenirs and health products produced on the convent's own farm.

    • + Gypsy Extravaganza With Lunch Join us as we take a meal of traditional Belarussian specialties whilst being enthralled by the high octane entertainment of Minsk's number one gypsy troupe. All this plus drinks, an excellent outing.

  • VILNIUS

    • + Trakai Castle And Town This morning we visit the old Lithuanian capital of Trakai with its beautifully set lakeside castle. Our guided visit shows us Lithuanias most famous and photographed castle which has been painstakingly restored to give an insight into the former grandeur and turbulent history of the Grand Duchy. The peninsula is dotted with old wooden cottages, many of them built by the Karaites, a sect originating in Baghdad. Later a chance to shop for local crafts in Trakai.

    • + Vilnius Folklore Lunch Experience a traditional Lithuanian lunch of local specialities whilst enjoying a Folklore show in lovely surroundings.

  • RIGA

    • + Open Air Museum At Bergi One of the showpieces of Latvia's cultural heritage is the ethnographic open air museum, situated in a pine forest on the banks of the Jugla Lake. Some 90 authentic and traditional buildings, such as farmhouses, windmills, fishermen's houses and churches, have been rebuilt here. A typical local lunch is included.

Disclaimer
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    of booking.
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Notes
  • * For single travellers purchasing the twin-share option, please note that there is a no smoking policy in all shared rooms. Solo travel is not accepted on guided Family Experiences holidays unless travelling as part of a family group. 
  • ^Twin-share option not available for trips to South America., Costa Rica, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii or for any holiday & cruise combination, or in Asia and Eastern Mediterranean except Highlights of Turkey (without cruise) & Best of Turkey.

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